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Dog River

Saturday Apr 18, 2020
C1: Alden Bird
Organizer: Alden Bird
Difficulty: nov-int WW
Level: low boatable
Gauge (ft): 1.78
Gauge (cfs): 250
USGS Gauge Name/Link: Dog River at Northfield Falls
Author: Alden Bird

I realize this was in no way an official VPC trip, but I wanted to record this information on a lesser-run river in case it proves helpful for future boaters.  What a treat last night -- as I scoured the Internet to find any information about paddling the Dog River -- to stumble onto Eric Bishop's trip report from Saturday, April 17th, 2004 -- almost 16 years ago to the day.  And what a treat to realize, by looking at other trip reports on the VPC site, that Eric and I had run Joe's Brook a day later -- my first trip down Joe's and a wonderful memory from my senior year in college. Eric's write-up was helpful today, and in that spirit, I wanted to provide an update.

I put in just upstream of the town of Northfield.  The dam just downstream of the Route 12 bridge was the best rapid of the day, a 5-6 foot sloping ledge.  Light rapids to a portage around the big dam behind the Nantanna Mill on river left. Easy water to the shallow rapid just above the next Route 12 bridge, by the town offices.  A decent ledge just below the first covered bridge. Then the huge, impressive 25’ Northfield Falls alongside the abandoned mill just downstream of the Cox Brook Road covered bridge.  Is it runnable? Back in 2004, with safety set, maybe . . . But in 2020, solo, definitely not!

More easy water to the “Jacuzzi” drop at the head of the last gorge.  Easy water to the Riverton take out.

Partway through the run, I paddled past a man running his chainsaw in his backyard.  This man was, interestingly enough, a dead-ringer for Eric Bishop, circa 2004.  He put his chainsaw down for a moment to talk. This is Week 5 of the Coronavirus social distancing period, and both of us were eager for conversation, even a few brief words  When I arrived at the take out, I saw he’d driven down to talk some more.  We chatted for a few more minutes at the bridge, six feet apart. I biked the shuttle and drove home.

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